Transpo’s First New Bus Arrives
Transpo saw the arrival of the first new bus in over 11 years on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. There will be a total of 16 new fixed route buses to replace 15-year old vehicles that have reached and exceeded their useful life.
Transpo selected New Flyer Xcelsior to replace the aging Gillig Phantoms and Low-Floor buses. The bus is built in the United States and Transpo worked with New Flyer to utilize as many "Made in Indiana" components as possible.
The new buses are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). The New Flyer Xcelsior is the same length, at 35 feet, as the older buses, but offers four additional seats per vehicle and features a sleek, contemporary look representing the connectivity that Transpo provides throughout South Bend and Mishawaka.
The new vehicles and CNG technology will help Transpo reduce maintenance and overall operationg costs, which is critical as funding for public transportation continues to decline. The buses were purchased with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds. Transpo was responsible for a 20% local match which comes from funds such as advertising revenue and cash fares.
"This is an exciting time for Transpo", said David Cangany, Transpo General Manager. "As we strategically plan for the future, the new buses utilizing CNG will help reduce our operating costs and ultimately provided us with the needed resources to maintain our current level of service", continued Cangany.
Transpo and the City of South Bend previously announced a partnership to build the first fast-fuel CNG facility in the regional that will be open to the public. Transpo expects to break ground on the new facility later this year which will be located on their current property. The fueling center is expected to be operational in early 2015. The partnership demonstrates how public transit is an economic engine in the community, providing fleets and organizations across the regions the resources necessary to explore CNG as an alternate fueling option.
Transpo expects to have all 16 new buses on property by the end of the year. Once the vehicles are on site, inspections will be completed, equipment installed and training will take place. The buses should be ready to go into service in early 2015.
Transpo is planning several events for the public to come out and see a new bus. The first event will be in conjunction with Downtown South Bend's Kids' Night Out First Friday on October 3. A new bus will be on display near the former College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.